July is National Picnic Month

No matter how much changes throughout the years, picnics are a pastime that never seems to fall out of favor. Hundreds of families along with their pets will be out at the parks this summer flying kites, grilling burgers, and enjoying each other's companies. If you're thinking of bringing your pup along this season, you wouldn't be the only one!

Expect to see other canines running and catching frisbees with their owners as well. Here are some ways to ensure that the whole family stays safe during your fun in the sun.

Keep Fireworks Out of Reach

Even though your kids understand that a sparkler is essentially a small flame that could burn them, our dogs don't always have the capacity to make that connection. All they see is a pretty, bright light that their human siblings love to play with, and they want to play too!

On the other hand, it’s no secret that canines are terrified of the bigger, louder, more dramatic fireworks shows. So, let them picnic with you during the day as long as they're a safe distance from any sparkler, but take them home once the bigger events start.

Beware of Bloat

We won't lecture you on the importance of staying hydrated. You've probably already thought to bring a bowl in case Fido gets thirsty after eating and playing. However, too much food and water combined with heavy panting can trigger a fatal condition in dogs called bloat. 

When kibble in the stomach absorbs liquid, it expands and releases gas. At the same time, your thirsty pup is swallowing gulps of air between laps of water. With nowhere for these excess gasses to escape to, the stomach begins to twist and turn, like a balloon animal. 

To avoid this potentially deadly condition, simply limit your dog's food intake. Sure, it’s a picnic, but if there's any chance they'll be exerting their bodies to the point of heavy panting, they can wait until later to eat. Make sure they take a break every so often and allow them to sip water once their breathing has slowed a bit.

Watch Out for Critters and Creepy Crawlies

Humans are far from being the only species that enjoys warm summer weather. Biting and stinging insects like bees, wasps, and flies are on the hunt for sugar and pollen. Be sure to cover sweet drinks and store food in airtight containers once the family is finished eating. You don't want your dog or winged guests rummaging through your leftovers.

While exploring the rest of the park or picnic area, keep your eyes peeled for anthills, skunks, and other forms of wildlife. It’s common for canines to aggravate ant colonies, wasp nests, porcupines, and skunks with their overly curious nature. 

Before you hop in your car and head home, be sure to check everyone for ticks! July is also around the time we begin to see more cases of Lyme disease contraction. If you haven't considered doing so already, pick up First Aid kit with tweezers, burn cream, sting relief, and any other tools that you feel are pertinent to your family's needs.

Have fun, and remain vigilant!